Plants are constantly challenged by various environmental stresses, including high salinity and drought, and they have evolved defense mechanisms to counteract the deleterious effects of these stresses. The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) regulates plant growth and developmental processes and mediates abiotic stress responses. Here, we identified the Capsicum annuum DRought Tolerance 1 (CaDRT1) gene from pepper leaves treated with ABA. CaDRT1 was strongly expressed in pepper leaves in response to environmental stresses and after ABA treatment, suggesting that the CaDRT1 protein functions in the abiotic stress response. Knockdown expression of CaDRT1 via virus-induced gene silencing resulted in a high level of drought susceptibility, and this was characterized by increased transpirational water loss via decreased stomatal closure. CaDRT1-overexpressing (OX) Arabidopsis plants exhibited an ABA-hypersensitive phenotype during the germinative, seedling, and adult stages. Additionally, these CaDRT1-OX plants exhibited a drought-tolerant phenotype characterized by low levels of transpirational water loss, high leaf temperatures, increased stomatal closure, and enhanced expression levels of drought-responsive genes. Taken together, our results suggest that CaDRT1 is a positive regulator of the ABA-mediated drought stress response.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 11, 2016
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